March Town United dealt Denny Escorcio blow

Denny Escorcio

Denny Escorcio - Credit: Archant

March Town United will have to do without Denny Escorcio for the rest of the season.

The striker, who has bagged 18 goals since returning to the Hares in the summer, has had to return to Portugal for family reasons.

To fill the gap, the Hares have brought in striker Ondre Odain from Peterborough Sports.

Manager Chris Bartlett said: “We lost Denny on Friday for family reasons. It’s a massive blow for us.

“Juliano Menezes has shift work at weekends so he’s unavailable too. Ondre hasn’t played a lot recently so we’ll need to get him up to speed.”

The Hares, missing Escorcio, Menezes and Lewis McManus, who withdrew with illness, were thumped 6-0 by Thurlow Nunn First division leaders Long Melford on Saturday.

Bartlett said: “We started slowly and they were extremely sharp. When you find yourself 4-0 down after 17 minutes, it’s difficult to recover.

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“Afterwards, in the changing room, I said what I felt was 10 times worse than disappointed. Six or seven of the players had an off day and you can’t afford that against a strong side like Long Melford.”

One player who is going to miss Escorcio more than most is fellow striker Dan Woods. The pair have struck up a formidable partnership - between them they have bagged 39 goals.

Woods said: “I’ve really enjoyed playing with him - we linked up well. He’s a massive loss.

“But Ondre is a good player and I know he’s more than capable of filling the gap.”

Woods is the top scorer in the league this season with 21 goals. His impressive performances have led to interest from higher level Cambridge City, but the 23 year-old isn’t going anywhere.

The former Peterborough Northern Star ace said: “I’m enjoying my football this season more than ever, and a lot of that’s down to Chris Bartlett.

“Hopefully we can push on and finish in the top four.”

March will look to bounce back when they host AFC Sudbury in the league on Saturday.

Bartlett said: “Sudbury are a real attacking threat. They score plenty and concede plenty, so it should be an open game.

“The lads were big enough to admit they weren’t good enough against Long Melford and they will want to respond.”

The Hares now know who they will play in the semi-finals of the Cambs Invitation Cup - they will host Cambridge City on March 24.